Art and culture contribute more than $500 billion to U.S. economy

According to a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts, the creative sector accounts for 3.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, or $504 billion.

This is the first federal effort to analyze the arts and cultural sector’s contributions to the GDP.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the film and television industries, along with other arts and cultural activities, contribute more to the nation’s economy than travel and tourism.

“Art and culture is a significant part of the U.S. economy — not just its contributions of ideas and creativity to the innovation economy but also as an important part of the labor force and our country’s GDP,” NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa said in a statement.

Hollywood movies and video services, the advertising industry and cable TV production were leading contributors to GDP in the creative sector, the researchers found, followed by broadcasting, publishing and the performing arts. On their own, the movie and video industries contributed $47 billion in value-added to the economy in 2011.

The total output from arts and cultural production, another measure of economic activity, was $916 billion in 2011, analysts found. That includes $200 billion from creative development in advertising, $104 billion from arts education including college art departments, $100 billion from cable TV and $83 billion from movies and video services.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the NEA plan to update the report each year.